Talking or texting on a cell phone while driving is undoubtedly a deadly mix. Yet many people ignore the fatal risk and do not take precautions. Now, a Utah company is using Bluetooth technology to create a special driving mode that makes it impossible for a driver to talk or text when the car is on.
"The recent stats show that texting on the phone has overtaken drunk driving fatalities on public roads. This is all about saving lives and safer driving," Discovery News quoted Ronn Hartman of Accendo LC, the company working to commercialise the technology, as saying.
In a bid to keep drivers focused on the road, several states have banned drivers from using cell phones while driving, or require hands-free devices, such as those equipped with Bluetooth.
Yet for some people, laws are made to be broken, and even hands-free conversations can quickly become distracting.
To address that problem, the scientists developed a special Bluetooth-equipped key.
In the current prototype, pushing a button both releases the key from its shell and activates the embedded Bluetooth technology, which finds the person's cell phone and puts it into driving mode.
When in driving mode, the phone automatically answers all incoming texts and voicemails with, "I am driving now. I will call you later when I arrive at the destination safely."
The only calls allowed out are to emergency services.
When the driver turns off the car, they slide the key back to an inactive mode, which returns the phone to normal operation.
Hartman expects to have a commercial version available for purchase within the next several months.